A fierce fire that broke out in a posh high-rise building named Lotus Business Park in Andheri, Mumbai, left one brave fireman named Nitin Ivalekar dead. Apparently, the valiant fire fighter’s wife demanded a written assurance from the government that the deceased fireman’s family would be financially looked after. While it is not yet known what action the state government has taken to compensate the Ivalekar family, one is extremely gratified to know that filmmaker Rakesh Roshan who owns notable property in the ill-fated building, has gotten together with the other property owners of the building to offer a substantial token compensation to the fireman’s bereaved wife.
Says Rakesh Roshan, “What happened was a terrible accident and ‘not sheer bad luck’, as a section of the media has wrongly quoted me. A word like ‘luck’ reduces the enormity of the terrible occurrence. No, I think what happened was way beyond bad luck. And when we heard about the brave fireman’s death and how his wife and child we were deeply shaken, we thought we must do something.”
The members of the Lotus Business Park society have gotten together to give the dead service-man’s wife a token amount. Says Rakesh Roshan, “We’ve decided to give the wife a cheque of Rs. 15 lakhs. It is nothing to compensate for his death. But it will help her with her son’s education.”
Rakesh feels such accidents when they happen should not be treated as only the government’s problem. “In a high-rise building there are many floors owned by people who can afford to compensate personally for damages if and when such an accident occurs. There were 22 floors in the building where the fire broke out. The fire broke out on the 21st floor. But the firemen could only reach up to the 17thfloor. What if the building was much taller? There were all the fire-safety equipments in the building. But nobody seemed aware of how to use them in the building. Given the risky situation, anything could have happened. Many lives could have been lost. One man did lose his life. And he died trying to save property and lives. I think we in the building owe it to the deceased man’s party to make small monetary compensation.”
The filmmaker says he only owns property in Lotus Business Park. “We have no active business concerns in the building. Miraculously no damage has occurred within the property because of the strong fire-proof windows. We are told we can re-occupy our property in two months. But we need to do some serious thinking about safety measures in high-rise buildings.”
One brings to the producer-director’s notice that his family has been facing some major setbacks in the past year: Hrithik’s back problem which has considerably slackened his career’s pace, then Hrithik’s shocking breakup with his wife and now the fire.
“Pray for me and my family. Please pray that nothing more goes wrong,” says Rakesh Roshan. Setbacks, they say, come in 3s. Perhaps the Roshan family has exhausted its quote of crises.